Salad of warm torn bread, poached egg and parmesan dressing

Salad of warm torn bread, poached egg and parmesan dressing

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

I love a really good Caesar salad – it just seems hard to find one. This salad – of warm, plump poached fresh eggs, tasty salad leaves, a salty, creamy rich vinaigrette and toast – isn’t a Caesar, but its creation came about from a longing for similar flavours. It makes a great brunch or light lunch dish. I vary the leaves and sometimes add slivers of white celery heart. It is the dressing I am most drawn to though… and the bread with which to mop it up.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
12-16 little plum tomatoes, such as San Marzano
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
60ml mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil
1-2 handfuls mixed leaves, such as mustard leaf, rocket or young spinach
4 slices good-quality chewy, peasant-style bread, cut about 1cm thick
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
4 very fresh organic free-range eggs
1/2 lemon, juiced
8 very thin slices good-quality parma ham
12-16 shards parmesan

Dressing

Quantity Ingredient
2 organic free-range egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons english mustard powder
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 lemon, juiced
4 good-quality anchovy fillets in olive oil
60g parmesan, freshly grated
140ml mild-tasting extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon creme fraiche

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pierce the tomatoes with a small knife just once and place on a baking tray. Season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are soft. Remove and allow to cool, reserving the juices.
  2. For the dressing, put the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, anchovies and Parmesan into a blender. With the motor running, very slowly pour in the olive oil through the feeder tube. When all the oil is incorporated, you will have a creamy, slightly thick dressing. Add the crème fraîche and blend briefly to combine. Season generously with pepper, but only a little salt (you may not need any at all). The finished dressing should fall softly from a spoon. If it is too thick, stir in 1 tbsp or so of tepid water.
  3. Place a wide pan of well-salted water on to boil. Wash the salad leaves and pat dry, then place in a bowl.
  4. Preheat the grill and toast the slices of bread until golden brown on both sides, then rub gently with the cut garlic clove. Brush the garlicky bread with a little olive oil and season with a little salt, then cut each slice in half.
  5. Swirl the boiling water in the pan to create a whirlpool, then carefully break in the eggs and poach for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly toss the salad leaves with the rest of the olive oil and the lemon juice, using your fingers. When the eggs are ready, remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  6. To assemble, layer the salad, toast, Parma ham, Parmesan shards and roasted tomatoes on warm individual plates, finishing with a piece of toast. Drizzle over the juice from the cooked tomatoes. Top with the poached egg and spoon over the dressing. Serve at once.
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